Federalism Opinion South Sudan Unity State Upper Nile State

Malakal is the Seat of Shilluk Kingdom

‘‘Never, never, and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another’’ Nelson Mandela.

This is the photo of Dak Buoth, the author of this article
Dak Buoth, the author is a law student in Kenya(Photo:supplied)

Nov 22, 2015 (Nyamilepedia) — What provoked Armed Resistance against Colonial Authorities by Africans was the forceful alienation of the latter’s arable land by the former. Other factors such as force labor were secondary.

When a group of People are evicted from their ancestral land for whatever reason, they ended up losing their source of food production, heritage, pride or culture, and as Sir Garvey put it eloquently that ‘‘People without a culture are like Tree without roots’’ by large, it mean they’re deprived of their economic base and dignity hence rendering them paupers. They will face identity crisis, and will no longer enjoy the fullness of full human being.

To avoid being subjected to suck barbaric kind of mistreatment and humiliation of Man by Man, the group facing eviction will have no option but to get reorganized and resist such temptations so as to enjoy and live as Men and Women with all their inalienable human rights as stipulated for in the United Nations human Rights Charter.

Ideally, any Order or attempt to disposes people from their Birth Place unjustifiably is not only repugnant to natural justice but a sheer affront to human rights principles and must be condemned with contempt it deserve.

In the present post-colonial Africa, the land disputes remain an emotive issue which continues to generate ceaseless deadly interethnic and states conflicts. In fact, it is one prerequisite that lead people to get involve in some seditious and subversive activities.

Once the original owners of the land in question realized they won’t get any justice after exhausting all non-violent means provided in legal justice system, they will retract, retreat and become extremists by facing the land grabbers head-on. They will apply excessive and indiscriminate forces against the civil population to seek public attention or as a way of achieving their objectives. And before they achieve that goal, dozen innocent lives and properties worth millions shall have been lost. They holds a belief that violent justify the end. Many reformed extremists whose views were sought by the researchers and security pundits said sincerely that they chose violence after long deliberation, and because they felt they had no choice.

Sometime back, on or around 2005/6, shortly after south Sudan attained its self-rule from Sudan, it was alleged that the then Unity State government headed by Taban Deng Gai said that Panyijiar territory, my home county doesn’t qualify to become a county on its own. According to our informant, the grounds were that the Area itself was small and that the Panyijiar residents were few, as result, they said the Area was to be annexed to the neighboring counties within the state. Our reaction to this news was venomous. We dismissed it as hogwash and mere imaginary views concocted by our rivals who wanted to use their political advantage to vilify and subjected us to public ridicule by denying us political identity in the country. If this claims came true, we vowed to challenge it both at the domestic and international courts.

Alternatively, if that legal battle could not bear fruits, we would get prepare to make River Nile which crosses our land a no go zone and that we shall make Unity State and south Sudan governments ungovernable until or unless they reverse or withdraw their stance.

Fortunately they did reverse the decision before it could come to light. Instead, they resorted to our means such as marginalizing the area for ten good years. They refused to offer basic services to Panyijiar people resulting to underdevelopment of the area; and today Panyijiar is ranked the poorest county in the all of south Sudan with no sign of modern infrastructures such as roads, Tel-communication and clean water.

‘’Nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced’’ Albert Eistein. The latest Order issued by President of South Sudan Salva kiir to take away Malakal town, which was and still the historical seat of the Shilluk kingdom from its rightful inhabitants (Shilluk ethnic group) in the name of implementing Federalism agenda is not only unconstitutional but blatant alteration of our national history.

Though the creation of 28 states may somehow be good, but taking away Malakal town and other areas from its rightful owners rendered the order null and void.

We the south Sudanese Patriots will not agree for other people to take it away from them through illegal means. Even if one goes biblical, he would find out the Area and its closes environs belong to the Shilluk community. Even if we go and recheck our historical records both coded and unwritten, it will be found correct that no other community has ever claimed ownership of Malakal other than the latter.

I caution the SPLM – led government particularly the president to refrain from playing politics with the land. Land issue is delicate phenomenon that goes to the hearts of many Africans. The president should apply decorum, sobriety and patriotism in dealing with matters pertaining community land in the country. Should he continue exhibiting his political arrogance and recklessness, our country will divorce with peace; and our society will sink and drown in blood, we shall witness another military showdown worse than what we had already experienced in the last two years.

The simple solution to avert this imminent danger is for the peaceful and hardworking PADANG PEOPLE in Upper Nile whom I heard are the one awarded with Malakal town, to come out and tell bitter truth as to who own Malakal. They’re peaceful neighbors who are supposed to defend each other’s rights at this time of need.

Should they keep mum and just go and settle on the Malakal town assuming it is theirs, it will not only be disservice to Shilluk but also to them, because their peaceful coexistence with Shilluk is more important than mere political loyalty owe to Salva Kiir. If kiir loves you because you supported his political cause, let him build a Padang university in your Area but not grabbing other’s properties and give it to you.

He is antagonizing you with your neighbors. I challenge you to refute this gift my dear. Come out now and acknowledge that Malakal town is land of Shilluk not yours.

By so doing, you shall have set a record straight and history will judge you right in time to come. The order that annexed Malakal to other counties in Upper Nile will bounce miserably because it holds no logic at all. President Kiir cannot justify a negative on the truth.

No amount of military aggression, political hegemony, intimidation or terror will take away Malakal from Shilluk people as long as the sun continue to rise in the East and rest in the west. This invalid Order will be reverse in broad day light. It shall be nullified because it is invalid and void.

It is unbelievable that president Kiir pretend as if he didn’t know that Malakal was a Shilluk territory. Could it be that the authors of his decree were not in control of their minds at the time they were writing the document or maybe they were under the influence of something? Will the president say later that he issue the Order under duress as he always claimed.

Nonetheless, this is not to say that the creation of 28 States was entirely bad, not at all. Some part of the Order is good. Personally I welcome the fact that I have new state now consisting of Panyijiar, Mayandit and Leer counties. All we will do latter is to sit and give it a new name that defines who we’re. We shall also see where its capital shall be situated. Preferable leer town will be strategic site compare to other counties headquarters.

Earlier on, when SPLM-IO reintroduced the federalism idea last year 2014, many people welcome it as preferred governance system that will allow more state resources flows to the grass root levels. I used the word re-introduce because they are not the original initiators of the idea. In fact, the call for federalism started during the Anya – Anya movement. But if they did managed to achieve and implement it, we would have attributed it to them, for ‘’history has a nut for remembering not those who begin the race but those who finish the race’

I was among those who said let’s give federalism a try. Unfortunately, I later became disgusted when they created 21 states and left Unity State undivided. I said if this is the case, then this federalism idea is incomplete, and incomplete agenda cannot be implemented.

Eventually, when Kiir came up with his 28 states and divide Unity State, I said thump-up. Later I heard contrary views from Unity States fellows’ saying the Oilfield has been taken away from us. That it has been given to Parieng or Rubkona. This is facile propaganda peddle to blackmail the public. It’s shoddy argument.  I asked myself, what benefit do people get when they have oil field in their state?

I heard in 2005 that, Unity State had two percent had to its state budget. Where is the evident, can somebody asks those who were in-charge from 2005 to 2013 about the whereabouts of two percent or what they used that money for? Unity state doesn’t have even a tertiary college where people can learn plumbing and tailoring courses. If indeed there was two percent given to us, it means they squander them.

I wish to advise the president, if at all he listens, not to append his signature on the Bill which the parliament passed on Friday. Let’s put the implementation of this order on halt until the appropriate and convincing mechanisms are first put in place. As I have stated above, I’m pretty ok with my state you created, but we don’t want to celebrate now when other fellows are wailing day and night. Let’ waits until we recollect and reconcile our thoughts together as a nation. Let’s first try to put away the hatred and fear which have been inflicted unto the people, thereafter, we can implement it phase by phase.

This suggestion is workable if given a try. Remember you needed political back-up from all political entities especially the opposition parties so as to have this idea implemented without bloodshed.

It will be very unfortunate if you chose to defy this honorable call to put this order on halt until we resettle, it will mean you’re also sabotaging the idea which you claim to support. I’m afraid; it seemed war is your best strategy to keep you in power for now. But remember, implementing the creation of 28 states might not need UPDF, it only requires smart policies such persuasion, consultation, rationality; understanding and cooperation, if we go for such decisive strategies, a certain we can move forward and even speedily.

Lastly, before the aforementioned suggestions are done, the proposed transitional government should empower and fully support the MINISTRY OF LAND to deal specifically with land disputes or else you can even create ministry of 28 states. Once that is created, it shall again form a national land commission composed of senior members of academia and other expertise vested with responsibilities to issue title deeds and to adjudicate over impending boundaries demarcation  et cetera, et cetera..

The writer is Dak Buoth, he lives in Kenya, he can be reached for comments via eligodakb@yahoo.com

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1 comment

Gatdar.wich November 24, 2015 at 7:57 pm

Dak Buoth,

How could you logically and reasonably support JCE’s annexation of Bul’s land to Parieng while at the same time against Malakal(Chollo’s land) annexation to Jiengs? Treacherous ideology, right ? Dak, please put behind the past differences and misdeeds of Gen. Taban against your community-Payijiar. Our unreservedly unity(Nuer) against the determined evil forces-JCE, is a must. You need Gen. Taban, and Gen. Taban need Dak Buoth, if we must prevail in this catastrophic war being waged against Naath Nation by JCE period.



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